Male: black above (marked with grey in winter); grey crown and lower back; rufous rump and sides of tail; black throat and breast; rufous below. Female: dull brown above; tail as in male; dull tawny-brown below. The eastern race rufiventris has a black crown, and is the common wintering bird of India. Mostly solitary in winter, when common all over India; easy bird to observe, in winter and in its open high-altitude summer country; perches on overhead wires, poles, rocks and stumps; characteristic shivering of tail and jerky body movements; makes short dashes to ground, soon returning to perch with catch; rather confiding insummer, breeding in houses, under roofs and in wall crevices.
open country, cultivation.
insects, mostly taken on ground.
breeds in the Himalaya, 2,400–5,200m; winters over much of subcontinent.
squeaking tictititic… call, often beginning with faint tsip… note; trilling song of breeding male.